Monday, March 4, 2013

Growing Up Laughing: My Story and the Story of Funny by Marlo Thomas

Rather than talk over-much about her own fabulous life (famous father, famous husband, popular groundbreaking TV career, philanthropy, etc.), Marlo Thomas hijacked her own memoir and turned it into a larger discussion on the art of comedy.

Chapters alternate between tidbits from Marlo's life and interviews with famous comedians across two (maybe three) generations of performers. Her dad's friends like George Burns and Sid Caesar are included, but also Jerry Seinfeld, Billy Crystal, and Whoopi Goldberg - even current standouts like Kathy Griffin and Tina Fey.

She asks each of these comedians when they first discovered they were funny, and about their families. Were their parents funny? Were they the class clown? The answers and stories included give an interesting backdrop on what makes a performer tick.

The chapters on her own life mostly involve her father and his friends: family dinners full of pros all trying to get a leg up on the others, and nights out with her dad at the club.

Our book discussion group has chosen this for later in the year - I'm reading ahead! I was glad Marlo chose this route in her memoir (I'm not sure I would have enjoyed 300 pages just about her). It's light reading, and there are lots of laughs.

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